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October 2011

5th Annual Spruce Pine Potters Market Takes Place in Spruce Pine, NC - Oct. 8-9, 2011

The 5th Annual Spruce Pine Potters Market will take place at the Cross Street Building in downtown Spruce Pine, NC, on Oct. 8 & 9, 2011, both days from 10am-5pm. Admission is free and light breakfast and lunch options will be available on site, served by Little Switzerland Café.

It might be the convenience of thirty potters gathered in one historic location. It could be the caliber of craftsmanship. Or maybe it’s the sense of community, the beautiful mountains, the joy of discovery. In any case, Pat Lowry of Rock Hill, SC, can’t decide what single factor keeps her coming back to the Spruce Pine Potters Market each fall, but that’s just fine with her. “I love it all,” she says. “The creativity of these potters is endless.”

The only small, self-run, annual pottery exhibition in the region, Spruce Pine Potters Market features approximately 30 ceramic artists from Mitchell and Yancey Counties and attracts several thousand visitors. “Every year, I visit these potters and they have come to be friends. In my opinion, this show gives you the masters of the mountains all in one place, but it also helps you discover the up-and-coming potters,” says Lowry.

Exhibitors are selected on a rotating basis from a list of past participants and each show also includes several “esteemed elders,” a Visiting Artist, and an Emerging Artist. This year’s Visiting Artist is Daniel Johnston (Seagrove, NC) and the elders are Cynthia Bringle and Jane Pieser. Ross Edwards was selected as the SPPM Emerging Artist for 2011.

“It feels so good to be invited into Spruce Pine Potters Market and also into this artists’ community,” says Edwards. “I love the energy that surrounds Western North Carolina as a center for creative thinking and productive living.” Most recently, the young potter has been focusing on slip cast porcelain dinnerware and lighting. “The fluidity of porcelain allows me to look at creating forms I would have never thought were possible.” Indeed, the contrast between positive and negative space in Edwards’ unique designs is tempered by such fluidity, as well as by his use of smooth glazes.

Additional exhibitors include Ron Slagle, Joy Tanner, Michael Rutkowsky, Courtney Martin, Michael Kline, and more. Ceramicist Pam Brewer will participate in this year’s SPPM event for her third time. Known for her soft, organic, animal imagery, this artist’s figurative work embodies a crafted balance between whimsical and grounded. Rabbits with expressive, leaf-like ears or birds with full, curved bodies are among some of the favorites. Brewer’s coil-built, earthenware forms are finished with terra sigillata in both soft and bright tones.

In addition to their weekend participation, these exhibitors work throughout the year to organize and promote the entire event. Each artist volunteers on at least one committee, designing the website, distributing postcards, contacting food vendors, making exhibitor selections, and more. “Each year we get a bit more organized,” says Connie Sedberry of Sedberry Pottery, who serves on the 2011 SPPM Steering Committee. “Almost as soon as the show is over, we begin organizing for the next year.”

Spruce Pine Potters Market is an affiliate organization of Toe River Arts Council.

For further information check our NC Institutional Gallery listings, call the group at 828/765-0520 or visit (

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